News media are reporting that one of the world’s most “notorious serial killers”, Charles Manson, has died in prison. Described as a “mass murderer” by many, including Wikipedia, Manson was found guilty for a string of murders committed by followers of his Family cult, even though it was only ever alleged that he ordered the killings. But if Manson was a serial killer for ordering the deaths of nine people, then what is George W Bush, who ordered the deaths of a million?
It’s well known that Charles Manson never killed anyone himself (at least he was never tried of a murder that he committed himself). At his famous trial, where he faced several counts of murder, it was never even alleged that he killed anyone. From the beginning it was asserted that the Family members had killed on his authority, and so Manson was as good as guilty even if he hadn’t literally murdered.
One obvious question arises from this. If being the leader of a hippie cult that killed nine people is enough to get a man put in prison for life, how has George W Bush got away with being the leader of a statist cult that killed over a million people? Surely, according to the same logic that was used to imprison Manson, George W Bush ought to stand trial for several hundreds of thousands of counts of murder and up to a million counts of manslaughter?
All of the US soldiers that killed people in Iraq from 2003 onward justify what they did because they had vowed to follow orders. They had sworn to do whatever they were told by their superior officers (unless it was illegal), and their superior officers had done the same, all the way up to the first link in the chain of command, which is the President. It was the President’s word that got the invasion started, and the President’s authority that justified it.
So if the actions of Manson’s followers made him guilty of murder, then the actions of George W Bush’s followers have also made him guilty of murder.
Even worse, Charles Manson had very little in the way of guidance that he could have drawn on to make a better decision. He was the son of an alcoholic teenage prostitute, and so wasn’t raised to learn how to make good judgments. What’s George W Bush’s excuse for so callously ordering a military action that killed over a million people? He was the son of a president himself, so should have learned better judgment than anyone else.
Moreover, the people of the world demonstrated in no uncertain terms that they thought the invasion was a bad idea. Over a million people protested in London, and three million in Rome – still the largest protest in world history. The whole planet told George W Bush that what he proposed to do was going to be a humanitarian catastrophe – so he can’t say that he wasn’t warned by the world that he was making an error.
So if Charles Manson was worthy of all the hatred he endured because he was guilty of possessing a monstrously arrogant disregard to the value of human life, then George W Bush is worthy of a hundred thousand times more.